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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

PHASES   OF   LYRIC   POETRY                        419

Rhine. His experiences as a workman and as a vagabond through
Germany and Italy provide the substance of his first book: Abglan^
des Lebens (1914). Here and in Mensch im Eisen (1925) he stresses
the torment of mechanical soulless labour and the poisoning of
the working man's soul by capitalism and class prejudice. He, too,
wrote an autobiographical novel, or actually a typical Tatsachen-
roman^ Hammerschlage (1930); his novel Die Pioniere von Eilenburg
(1934), a story of the beginning of the co-operative movement in
Germany about 1850, pleads for self-help among the workers. In
Mut und Ubermut (1934) Lersch humorously tells of his vagabond-
age; in the short stories of Im Pulsschlag der Maschinen (1935) he
states his creed: the machine does not take a man's soul, on the
contrary the workman gives his soul to the machine. His last book
of verse, Mit bruderlicher Stimme (1933), is dedicated 'im Sinne des
Fiihrers* to the community, and is typical of the general absorption
of the Arbeiterdichtervfao survived to 1933 in the Nazi movement.

Quite a different set of working-men poets are the Werkleute
aufHaus Nyland (p, 370), though Lersch and Broger were loosely
associated with them for a time. Like Lersch, they are at home by
Rhine and Ruhr, and their theme is the glorification of labour in
all its phases as they knew it in the Rhenish industrial districts.
But they are disciples of Dehmel, and as such they fling themselves
into vigorous praise of life as it is. The three founders of the group
were Josef Winckler (p. 369), Jakob Kneip, and Wilhelm Vers-
hofen, and the first book of the school was a common effort, Wir
Drei (1904). In their journal Quadriga appeared Winckler's Eiserne
Sonette (1912), in which he sings the new man of the Iron Age.
Winckler's Der Rheinbagger marries ancient Rhine myths to the
new myth of modern industry. The most gifted of the Quadriga-
leuteis JAKOB KNEIP (1881-1958). The son of a Hunsriick farmer, he
was intended for the Catholic priesthood; his life in the seminary
and his desertion of it at the call of life he has described in his
novel Porta Nigra (1932). His native Hunsriick forms the back-
ground of his popukr novel Hampit der ]dger (1927). As a lyrist
he wrote one of the best War books, Em deutsches 'Testament (1938);
his other volumes of verse (Bekenntnis, 1917; Der lebendige Gott>
1919; Bauernbrof, 1934) bear the mark of his religious spirit and
his love of the supernatural.

The revival of the ballad is as free from experiment in form as
the Arbeiterdichtung is. Lulu von Strauss und Torney and Agnes